A model-based optimisation of the operation in view of the biological performance in terms of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) removal of a pilot-scale side-stream MBR has been performed by means of a two-tier scenario analysis. The methodology uses two different scenario analyses to simulate the effect of three degrees of freedom in the MBR system: (1) DO set-point in the aerobic reactor, (2) sludge residence time and (3) internal recirculation rate. The scenarios are simulated using a calibrated ASM2d MBR model. Effluent quality, in terms of nitrate, ammonia and phosphate, is used to select the best scenario. It proved to be a compromise between nitrogen and phosphorus removal as these are linked. A 42% reduction in ammonium and a 32% reduction in nitrate concentration were achieved. Phosphate removal is partly sacrificed (39% increase) compared to the standard operation.

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